Part 19

Qualification for Royal Authority Icon

January 24, 2020

19. A sign of the qualification for royal authority is his eager desire to acquire praiseworthy qualities, and vice versa.

Royal authority is something natural to human beings, because of its social implications.

Man has the power of logical reasoning. This inclines him towards good qualities than to bad ones since evil is the result of the animal powers in him.

Royal and political authority come to man qua man, because it is peculiar to man and is not found in animals. Thus, the good qualities in man are appropriate to political and royal authority, since goodness is appropriate to political authority.

Glory has a basis upon which it is built and through which it achieves its reality. (That basis) is group feeling and the tribal group (to which an individual belongs).

Glory also depends upon a detail that completes and perfects its existence.

That detail is an individual’s personal qualities.

Royal authority is a goal of group feeling. Thus, it is likewise a goal of the perfecting details, namely, the (personal) qualities. The existence of (royal authority) without the (simultaneous existence of) the perfecting details would be like the existence of a person with his limbs cut off, or it would be like appearing naked before people.

The existence of group feeling without the practice of praiseworthy qualities would be a defect among people who possess a “house” and prestige. All the more so would it be a defect in men who are invested with royal authority, the greatest possible kind of glory and prestige.

Furthermore, political and royal authority are (God’s) guarantee to mankind and serve as a representation of God among men with respect to His laws. Now, divine laws affecting men are all for their good and envisage the interests (of men). This is attested by the religious law. Bad laws, 117 on the other hand, all result from stupidity and from Satan, in opposition to the predestination and power of God.

He makes both good and evil and predetermines them, for there is no maker except Him.

He who thus obtained group feeling guaranteeing power, and who is known to have good qualities appropriate for the execution of God’s laws concerning His creatures, is ready to act as (God’s) substitute and guarantor among mankind. He has the qualifications for that.

This proof is more reliable and solid than the first one. It has thus become clear that good qualities attest the (potential) existence of royal authority in a person who (in addition to his good qualities) possesses group feeling.

People who possess group feeling and who have gained control over many lands and nations, have an eager desire for goodness and good qualities, such as:

  • generosity
  • the forgiveness of error
  • tolerance toward the weak
  • hospitality toward guests
  • the support of dependents
  • maintenance of the indigent
  • patience in adverse circumstances
  • faithful fulfillment of obligations
  • liberality with money for the preservation of honor
  • respect for the religious law and for its scholars
  • observation of the things to be done or not to be done that (those scholars) prescribe for them
  • thinking highly of religious scholars
  • veneration for men of religion with a desire to receive their prayers
  • great respect for old men and teachers
  • acceptance of the truth in response to those who call to it
  • fairness to and care for those who are too weak to take care of themselves
  • humility toward the poor
  • attentiveness to the complaints of supplicants
  • fulfillment of the duties of the religious law and divine worship in all details,
  • avoidance of fraud, cunning, deceit, and of not fulfilling obligations
  • and other similar things

These are the qualities of leadership, which persons qualified for royal authority have obtained. These have made them deserving of being the leaders of the people under their control, or to be leaders in general.

It is something good that God has given them, corresponding to their group feeling and superiority.

It is not something superfluous to them, or something that exists as a joke 118 in connection with them. Royal authority is the good and the rank that most closely correspond to the group feeling they have. We thus know that God granted them royal authority and gave it to them.

Vice versa, when God wants a nation to be deprived of royal authority, He causes (its members) to commit blameworthy deeds and to practice all sorts of vices.

This will lead to complete loss of the political virtues among them. (These virtues) continue to be destroyed, until they will no longer exercise royal authority. Someone else will exercise it in their stead. This is to constitute (in addition) an insult to them, in that the royal authority God has given them and the good things He has placed at their disposal are taken away from them. “When we want to destroy a village, we order those of its inhabitants who live in luxury to act wickedly therein.

Thus, the word becomes true for it, and we do destroy it.” 119 Upon close investigation, many instances of what we have said and outlined will be found among the nations of the past. God “creates whatever He wishes, and His is the choice.” 120

A quality belonging to perfection, that tribes possessing group feeling are eager to cultivate and which attests to their (right to) royal authority, is respect for (religious) scholars, pious men, noble (relatives of the Prophet), well-born persons, and the different kinds of merchants and foreigners, as well as the ability to assign everybody to his proper station. The respect shown by tribes and persons (in control) of group feelings and families, for men of comparable nobility, tribal position, group feeling, and rank, is something natural.

It mostly results from the (human) desire for rank, or from fear of the people of the person to whom respect is paid, or from a wish for reciprocal treatment. However, in the case of people who have no group feeling to make themselves feared, and who have no rank (to bestow) for which one might hope, there can be no doubt as to why they are respected, and it is quite clear what one wants (to find) through them, namely, glory, perfection in personal qualities, and total progress toward (a position of) political leadership. Respect for one’s rivals and equals must exist in connection with the special 121 political leadership that concerns one’s tribe and its competitors (and equals). Respect for excellent and particularly qualified strangers means perfection in general political leadership.

The pious are thus respected for their religion; scholars, because they are needed for establishing the statutes of the religious law; merchants, in order to give encouragement (to their profession), so that (their) usefulness may be as widespread as possible. Strangers are respected out of generosity and in order to encourage (them) to undertake certain kinds (of activity).

Assigning everybody to his proper station is done out of fairness, and fairness means justice. When people who possess group feeling have that, one knows that they are ready for general political leadership, which means (they are ready for) royal authority. f God permits (political leadership) to exist among them, because the (characteristic) sign of (political leadership) exists among them.Therefore, the first thing to disappear in a tribe that exercises royal authority, when God wants to deprive the members of that tribe of their royal and governmental authority, is respect for these kinds of people. When a nation is observed to have lost (that respect), it should be realized that (all) the virtues have begun to go, and it can be expected that the royal authority will cease to exist in it.

20. While a nation is savage, its royal authority extends farther.

This is because such a nation is better able to achieve superiority and full control, and to subdue other groups. The members of such a nation have the strength to fight other nations, and they are among human beings what beasts of prey are among dumb animals. The Arabs and the Zanatah and similar groups, for instance, are such nations, as are the Kurds, the Turkomans, and the Veiled Sinhajah.

These savage peoples, furthermore, have no homelands that they might use as a fertile (pasture), and no fixed place to which they might repair. All regions and places are the same to them. Therefore, they do not restrict themselves to possession of their own and neighboring regions. They do not stop at the borders of their horizon. They swarm across distant zones and achieve superiority over faraway nations.

One might compare in this connection what `Umar is reported to have said when he received the oath of allegiance and arose to incite the people to the conquest of the ‘Iraq.

He said= “The Hijaz is your home only in as far as it is a pasturage. Those who dwell there have no power over it except in this respect. Where do (you) newcomers who emigrated (to Medina) stand with regard to God’s promise, ‘Travel about in the world’? 124 God promised it to you in His book for your inheritance, when He said, ‘In order to give (the true religion) victory over all religions, even if the polytheists dislike it.’ " 125

Another example is the condition of the ancient (preIslamic) Arabs, such as the Tubba’s and the Himyar. They are reported 126 to have marched from the Yemen to the Maghrib at one time, and to the ‘Iraq and India at another time. No other nation except the Arabs ever did anything like that.

The condition of the Veiled (Sinhajah) in the Maghrib is another example. When they aspired to royal authority, they swarmed out of their desert plains in the neighborhood of the Sudan, in the first zone, and overran the Spanish realm in the fourth and fifth zones, without any intermediate (stage).

Such is the case with savage nations. Their (dynasties), therefore, extend over a wider area and over regions farther from their (original) center (than do other nations).